Free parking gives big boost to small businesses

 

Croydon’s small businesses are set to get a big boost with council plans to make the first hour of parking FREE in district centres across the borough.

Croydon Council is launching the policy to make it easier for customers to visit local shops and increase trade in Croydon’s 11 district centres. It will replace the existing 30 minutes free parking at pay and display bays in these areas.

Councillor Stuart King, cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “By making the first hour free of charge in these parking bays, we are making it quicker, easier and less expensive for people to park outside their local shops for a short time while still keeping the traffic flowing.

“We know it’s really important to have short-term parking available for shoppers in our district centres – that’s why we have parking restrictions in place in those areas. Pay and display bays benefit small businesses and their customers, because they place a reasonable limit on the amount of time people can occupy a space outside the shops, preventing people from leaving their car there all day – for example, while they commute to work.”

Unveiled at last night’s council meeting (30 January), the proposal will go before the council’s traffic management advisory committee on 8 February. Full details are available in a report published here today.

Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs, said: “I have visited our district centres and listened to small businesses and traders and the issue of one hour free parking was their number one concern, so I’m delighted that Croydon Council is delivering this huge boost for small businesses around the borough – this is one way the council can make a real difference to trade. By making the first hour of parking free in our district centres, we are making it easier for people to pop to their local shops and encouraging them to do so.

“We’ve also been listening to our residents, many of whom value and are incredibly loyal to their local shops. In Croydon we have a fantastic track record in the growth of new enterprise and some of this is due to their willingess to get behind local shops and businesses. We appreciate their support for our district centres and want to encourage this as much as possible. As our town centre undergoes its £5.2bn regeneration and once again becomes a major shopping destination for the south-east, Croydon’s district centres will become ever more important in providing people with a local option and we will do everything we can to facilitate this.”

Ken Burgess, chairman of the Central Parade Business Partnership and owner of Burgess Boys Pet Care Centre, said: “This is excellent – tremendous news as far as the small shops are concerned. It’s good for the customers and good for the shop-keepers – it’s a win-win. It lets people use their local shops more easily – half an hour isn’t really enough time but an hour lets people go into a couple of shops at least. It’s very beneficial to the district centres.”

If approved the changes will be implemented during Spring/Summer 2017 along with the roll-out of new parking machines. The centres set to benefit are Thornton Heath, South Norwood, Addiscombe, Cherry Orchard Rd (East Croydon), South Croydon, Selsdon, New Addington, Purley and Coulsdon.

ENDS

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